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February 2, 2010

CW's Feb. 11 Electronic Field Trip explores transatlantic slave trade

During Black History Month, Colonial Williamsburg’s award-winning interactive Electronic Field Trip series examines the troubling subject of the transatlantic slave trade and stretches beyond the colonial period to 1845 – 38 years after the passage of the 1807 law abolishing the slave trade.

“The Slave Trade,” which airs Feb. 11, explores why the transatlantic slave trade was so difficult to stop, how slave traders circumvented the law and what methods were used by those who worked tirelessly to enforce the new law. The script, written by William White, Colonial Williamsburg’s executive producer and director of educational program development, follows a series of stories connected by the narration of Sojourner Truth, a woman born into slavery in New York who was later emancipated and worked to abolish slavery.

“Congress had declared that the slave trade was an act of piracy, but still the practice continued because slavery itself had not yet been abolished,” said Frances Burroughs, director of operations for educational programs. “British and American navies patrolled the coast of Africa in an attempt to end the traffic in human beings. The horrors these ships’ crews witnessed are well documented.”

Produced by Colonial Williamsburg’s division of productions, publications and learning ventures, electronic field trips are broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern time on participating public television stations and cable channels across the country. Targeted to grades 4–8, the distance learning programs span a broad range of historical subjects about people, issues and events from the colonial period to the present day.

Each electronic field trip is supported with lesson plans, interactive student resources, program scripts and other materials to help teachers make history exciting and relevant for their students. All materials have been developed by teachers, historians and museum educators and meet state standards for history, technology, art and literacy. Selected programs also correlate to additional state standards related to the program’s subject.

Students in participating schools may submit pre-recorded video questions, share a project via live video Web chats, e-mail or call in questions to costumed interpreters and historians during the live televised broadcast. Registered users also may view electronic field trips and use teacher and student resources via the Internet on demand any time during the school year.

As the nation’s leading educational resource for early American history, Colonial Williamsburg uses the Internet and live interactive television broadcasts to bring American history to life for more than one million students and four million other viewers each year. For more information and pricing, or to subscribe to the electronic field trip series, visit, call 1-800-761-8331, or e-mail

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at Each purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the foundation’s preservation, research and educational programs.

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280